Former CRC student wins prestigious catering award
Lisa Normanton, who studied at Cambridge Regional College (CRC), has become the first ever NHS chef to win Public Sector Chef of the Year at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards.
Lisa studied her City and Guilds qualifications at CRC between 1985 and 1987. During this time, she worked alongside fellow students in the college restaurant and embarked on a 2-week field trip to vineyards in Italy and France.
Lisa says, “I loved my time at Cambridge Regional College, it felt like you were really working in the industry. We became a brilliant team, especially when we worked in the restaurant and the public came in. I was very sad leaving as I wanted it to continue, I didn’t like school so it was a whole new experience for me to really enjoy education.”
Lisa originally experienced catering in a hospital environment on a 4-week work experience placement from CRC at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. After graduating, she worked at a care home before taking a break to raise a family. Aged 29, She re-joined Hinchingbrooke Hospital as a Chef and has now worked her way up to the role of Catering Manager.
The Craft Guild of Chefs Awards, now in its 25th year, recognises both emerging and well-established talent from across the catering industry. Lisa was nominated for the Public Sector Chef Award by her superiors after making positive changes to the hospital catering department and ensuring 100% of the dishes offered are cooked on-site to the highest standard. She has now become the first NHS chef to ever win the award.
Lisa’s advice to any catering students considering the health sector as a career path is simple, give it a try. She said, “My work experience placement helped with my decision to enter healthcare catering when I left college, as I didn’t really know it was an option before that. It’s so rewarding when you receive a thank you and patients tell you what a difference you made to their stay. It is a great career to help sick people get better as food is a medicine in itself. The hours suit family and social lives and you have great support and career choices in the NHS.”